These 2 players will be key for the Pistons vs. the Celtics

Ish Smith #4 of the Washington Wizards in action against Marvin Bagley III #35 and Killian Hayes #7 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Ish Smith #4 of the Washington Wizards in action against Marvin Bagley III #35 and Killian Hayes #7 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Pistons will try to win their third straight game in an afternoon contest today at Little Caesar’s Arena vs. the Boston Celtics.

The Pistons are heavy underdogs at home even though they won the last matchup between these two teams in the game before the All-Star break.

Detroit got some late heroics from Jerami Grant and some timely defense from Cade Cunningham to win the game against a Boston team that was shorthanded without Marcus Smart and Robert Williams III.

The Pistons won the bench battle in the last game, which was key to their victory, and with Boston back at full strength today, they will need another big effort from their bench, which could be a weapon for the Pistons down the stretch.

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In particular, they will need big games from two players who are not in the starting five.

Detroit Pistons: Killian Hayes needs to shut down Derrick White

Killian Hayes still hasn’t been scoring much for the Detroit Pistons since his move to the bench, but he has been a difference maker on the defensive end.

I thought his defense was key in the win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, as he got the bench unit going, which shifted the momentum of the game.

He will need a similar effort against Derrick White, who was in the starting lineup the last time these two teams played.

With Smart back, White will be moved to the bench and is one of their key guys in that role, so if Hayes can shut him down, it will be a big boost to the Pistons. White is coming off a nice all-around game vs. the Nets, and with the Celtics’ lack of bench depth, shutting him down will be key.

Marvin Bagley III vs. Grant Williams

Williams will also be coming off the bench in this one after starting the last game vs. the Pistons. Bagley III didn’t get a ton of time against him in the win before the break, but was able to score a few buckets on Williams in the post, including one thunderous dunk.

Bagley III is coming off his best game for Detroit so far and hopes to build on it against Williams, who is considerably smaller than Bagley III, which should give him some opportunity in the post.

I would love to see the Pistons feature Bagley III in the second unit and try to get him some looks in the pick-and-roll and in the paint, where he has an offensive bag to work with.

If Killian Hayes can hold White to single digits and Bagley III can score 15+ for the Pistons, they have a good chance of playing spoiler to Boston once again.

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